Sharing Notes, a nonprofit sponsored by Roosevelt University’s Chicago College of Performing Arts (CCPA), has received the Ruth D. and Ken M. Davie Excellence in Arts Award, the most prestigious award made annually by the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra.
Through Sharing Notes, student volunteer musicians perform for patients at area hospitals. The group has given more than 500 performances for patients at hospitals since 2012.
“Sharing Notes’ unique ability to selflessly help others through their musical talents builds community even as it opens up space for transformative healing and change,” said Christina Salerno, the orchestra’s executive director.
Allegra Montanari, director of CCPA’s Center for Arts Leadership, also serves as executive director of Sharing Notes.
“As a small organization, having the recognition of such a prominent and beloved arts institution [the orchestra] is an honor,” Montanari said.
She founded Sharing Notes as a student group while finishing her graduate degree in cello performance at Roosevelt in 2012. She began by organizing monthly performances by students for cancer patients at Prentice Women’s Hospital in April 2012. Since then, the organization has grown as an independent 501(c)3 nonprofit with continued support of Roosevelt University as an educational sponsor.
“Students pursuing degrees in the performing arts are surrounded by the beauty of live music, and it can be easy to take that for granted,” said Montanari. “With my colleagues, I decided that we needed to reconnect with the power we have to create that beauty for others—especially those who lack access to it.”
Approximately 40 musicians, including many who are students and alumni from Roosevelt’s CCPA, volunteer with Sharing Notes, which gives an estimated 85 performances each year, reaching about 4,500 patients annually.
Every month, Sharing Notes regularly performs for patients at Northwestern Memorial’s Lurie Cancer Center at Prentice Women’s Hospital, La Rabida Children’s Hospital, the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital, and the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute.